Learn to shoot on manual in the browser

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ludwigw, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. ludwigw macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2013
    #1
    We'd really appreciate feedback from the wider photography community on something we've built: GetSharp

    The premise is that we're going to teach you to use your DSLR camera on manual by strongly emphasising the use of 'stops'. You can read more about how we built/designed the app here, if you are interested.

    We know there are some limitations — we don't have zoom and we don't let you change lenses. Whilst we know that these are important parts of photography, it didn't fit into what we thought we could ship and get feedback on (we didn't want to work on something for years and then find out we were doing it all wrong!) We're trying to focusing on teach the affordances and costs of each leg of the exposure triangle (Aperture, ISO and SS) and how you can push and pull each leg for effect whilst maintaining control of the exposure levels because you're functioning in stops.

    We're keen for feedback!
     
  2. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #2
    Why should I buy your app when I can read a little bit about exposure, and then take my camera and go out to experiment for real?
     
  3. ludwigw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2013
    #3
    1. It's far less intimidating than using the controls of a DSLR
    2. You get much faster feedback; no shutter required. No loading photos to a computer. Instant feedback.
    3. You can actually see the results on the *exact* scene. This isn't possible with a DSLR in the real world.

    We also try to get you hints and feedback after you've taken the shot to try and explain why we'd suggest variant settings for the particular scene. But we think that the above three points would be enough, even without the "advice".
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    OK,

    1. The image should continuously darken or lighten as I change move the dial.
    2. Make three sliders. Clicking then turning is akward
    3. make is a slider, rotting the dial is not as easy as a linear slider
    4. the controls need a SCALE ON THEM not in a separate little window
    5. NO ONE is going to buy this, a few people might try it if it were free
    6. this is not the place to advertise. If you want feedback give it way to reviewers
     
  5. DirtySocks85 macrumors 65816

    DirtySocks85

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    #5
    1. You're going to have to get used to it eventually anyway. Might as well practice with the camera you plan on using.
    2. I'd say that looking at the LCD on the back of my DSLR is about as fast of feedback as I could need. I can then have an even more detailed look when I get it on my computer, but for most basic education on exposure the preview image will tell me most of what I need to know "right then".
    3. Sure it is, I go, shoot a scene with one set of settings, chagne the settings, take another exposure and repeat the process. Then I can learn what I like and don't like about how each combination of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed affects my final image.

    I like that you're creating educational tools, and I hope someone is able to learn something from it, but I got my first DSLR last year in December, and did plenty of reading on the exposure triangle in the week or so that I was waiting on the UPS guy to bring it to me. I was shooting fully manually with some decent level of understanding and proficiency within a week or two. If you find the controls of an entry level DSLR to be "too intimidating", maybe photography isn't the right hobby for you.

    Ultimately, I like the idea of an interactive tutorial on basic exposure settings, but I think that it can only take you so far.

    Also, if anyone would like to compare, Canon has a tool that seems pretty similar as well. We discussed it here a couple of months ago: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1571281
     
  6. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #6
    So you are going to teach me how to use my camera by having me not use my camera.

    The whole point behind experimenting is to learn how to use the camera so I won't be intimidated.

    I can get immediate feedback from the display on my camera. Working with digital images in the computer is another part of the digital photography process.

    This is simply not true. Learning about exposure and depth of field has never required the "exact" scene. If I need the "exact" scene, I'll use a tripod.


    Too often we think that we should do something on the computer simply because we can. There is never any substitute for "going out and doing." Photography is that way. I wish you a lot of luck, but I don't think it will do anything real to advance someone's photographic skills.
     
  7. ijohn.8.80 macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #7
    I thought that was why there is a "P" setting on your DSLR's these days? For the intimidated to still have their DSLR, whilst using it as a point and shoot.

    3 out of 4 DSLR shooters that I see at the Zoo here use their DSLR's on Auto or Program. I kid you not! :eek:
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    "P" is actually a good setting. I get to select a bunch of shutter and aperture combinatins that all give the same EV number and if I don't like the EV number I can dial in exosure compensation. It really does about the same thing as manual.

    It really depends on how the camera comtrols work. New "new" SLR has two wheels, my old one had only one. The even older one that I liked best has the aperture ring on the lens

    Maybe the BEST setup is Hasselblad. The have both the shutter and f-stop rings on the lens AND a key feature is the lock. It is mechanical but it works like "P" mode

    But in the end when I try and teach photography I tell people to use the "A" mode until you have good reason not to use A. (they will find a reason soon enough) Photography is not about dial twiddling and gear collecting. That is like learning to type if you want to be a writer. Sure all writers can type but writing in not typing.

    I good idea for software that would be more helpful is somethingto teach "Previsualization" That is where you look at a scene and you see in your mind a print but with different tones. Teach people how to do that. Adams tried to do just that with his zone system. But today we might call it previsualized curves. Either way the idea is to thing through the post processing steps. Software can help with this. Photography includes post processing.
     
  9. ijohn.8.80 macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #10
    Now if that was on offer, I'd be interested! I've tried various ways to get there, reading, watching, emulation, experimentation, analysing others works, classes... Nothing has really taught me to develop this ability as yet. One day I may meet just the right person, who explains it in such words that I go "Oh $#!*, I get it..." I've accepted that it's something that will come from within me over time. I haven't even been at this game a year yet, I have plenty of time ahead of me to get there. :)
     
  10. akdj macrumors 65816

    akdj

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #11
    While I dig the OP's concept on 'educating'...perhaps it's more of an idea before someone makes that DSLR purchase...just to get an idea of the art or craft before making the investment in the body, the glass, the flash, et al. If one has already made the DSLR purchase and is on his/her way to learning the triangle....I completely agree with DeepDiver's response. The only way to learn is to get out and shoot...make your own mistakes, start with 'P' instead of 'A'...read a couple of decent sites or books (Still a fan of Peterson)...and quickly move to Shutter or Aperture priority as the situation calls for it. These new DSLRs are damn smart....Manual control is really only necessary for a few of us, IMO. Program mode is perfect for the VAST majority...but when you want that shallow DOF or that fast shutter speed to stop the 'action'...Tv and Av modes are excellent options...especially with the High ISO/Low noise offerings of today's even cheapest DSLR options. I shoot in manual...but rarely and often 'only' for those landscape shots that I'm using an N/D filter for and want to be absolutely perfect. Even then...I'll end up with a couple dozen shots of the same landscape...using what I feel is 'best' only when I'm home in front of the calibrated monitor and printer;)

    A year? Brother John...you do have a 'way' to go....'YOUR' way is ultimately what will make YOU the better photographer. Study some of your favorites. Forget the rest...sounds like you've covered the 'basics' and so much is already done 'In Camera' these days...they truly are power houses with their own CPU! If you understand the principles of light, exposure....and shutter speed as it relates to your aperture...you're 90% the way there. The other 10% is the most hard to achieve. In my opinion, it's a lot like Hendrix or Clapton on guitar. You KNOW it when you hear it. Same with photography...once you 'get it', it's time to become your 'own' photographer. Your own style...build on that. One of my favorites is a guy named Bob Gruen. If you're a fan of Rock-n-Roll over the past 50 years (including current Rock and Top 40 acts)...you've seen his work. Showtime just did a documentary on him....Rock 'n' Roll Exposed...The Photography of Bob Gruen. He started off with a cheap camera....and maybe shot or two from a couple dozen that 'looked good'....but he was noticed, got 'found'....and in 50 years has captured some of the most iconic images in music. The stories he must have.....but his ability to 'blend' with the scene and take the 'shot' that mattered...that's his signature.

    You'll find yours, give it time! You're capturing a single nano-second of history every click of the shutter. Frame it correctly, expose it perfectly...and if it's the right shot, you may have a Pulitzer on your CF/SD card...who knows?

    tl/dr....develop your own style. That's the next step. Forget the intricacies of photoshop....learn post processing as you move forward. You've got the basics, now develop your 'style'....your craft will develop just like anything else in life done over and over and over....

    J
     
  11. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #12
    Kind of a cool idea. I'm not sure there's much of a market considering there's a few website that do the exact same thing... Or just put your camera in live view.

    If I can provide feedback, the controls are a pain to use. You need to click what you want to change then operate a circular button, it's tedious. Sliders would be better. Also, you're not providing a light meter. IMHO, you're learning that manual mode means shoot a bunch of images rather than there are several combinations of settings that will give you a correct exposure. It's up to you to balance out the depth of field, motion blur and noise you want in the image.
     
  12. DirtySocks85 macrumors 65816

    DirtySocks85

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    #13

    I work at a zoo and can corroborate that assessment. It drives me batty! I mostly see it from the soccer mom types that clearly bought it because it was "a nice camera" not because they wanted to anything with photography.
     
  13. ijohn.8.80 macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #14
    J, there's some good words in amongst that lot, the majority of which I snipped away for this response, sorry. Thanks for the earnest reply, it's appreciated.

    There's still a few things more for me to learn as instinctive operations with my camera. Exposure compensation and bracketing for example, are still not intuitive responses. I have to peek at the screen to see what I'm doing there.

    The style thing is becoming apparent for me with architectural shots, I analysed thousands of architectural pictures over a couple of weeks, whittled that down to 100 best and worked out exactly what appealed to me about them. Things like, lens type, viewing angles, perspectives, lines, repetition, light conditions, emotions they inferred or brought up within me, etc... This really helped in that regard, suppose I need to do the same thing with landscapes and macro too! :eek:
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #15
    I always tell people to do something like this. What I say is to give yourself an assignment (to copy some style you like) then shoot about 100 frames then go home and run them through whatever "process" you like and select the best 10. Delete the others. Compare the best ten with your "prototype" that you fond on a book or whatever and see if you could do better. Then next week give yourself another (or the same) assignment. The key point is to shoot with a purpose and be critical and be willing to dispose of your worse 90%. and evaluate your work compared to very high standards. Do this every week or if you happen to have free time twice a week. That means 5,000 or 10,000 frames per year.

    It takes about 10,000 frames before you are half way good, so just keep at it.

    If you want to be a professional it is harder because you have to learn to shoot in whatever "style" your client likes

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    1. I have to agree. I just can't see how using the software is quicker them using my dSLR. I did just buy a "new to me" dSLR and must have shot 100 images of a random wall i my house to see the effect of things like flash exposure compensations and if ISO 3200 looks noisy (yes it does.) and if my very old Vivitar flash would work (yes)

      Playing with the camera is faster then any software. I did have to read the user manual for some features
     

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